The ABC’s of Shingle Roof Maintenance

Fall Roof InspectionBuying a house is typically the largest single investment that you’ll make. And the roof of your home is quite possibly the most important part of your house, as it protects the structure and it’s contents from damage and exposure to the elements. The lifespan and protective value of your roof is directly related to its condition and the quality of its maintenance. Proper shingled roof maintenance prevents water damage that could lead to interior problems or structural issues, and a good roof maintenance plan maximizes the life of your roof.

The best approach to preventative roof maintenance is to perform semi-annual inspections to identify and solve problems as they develop. All American Roofing offers the following recommendations for shingle roofing maintenance :

A. Safety First
Because roof inspection and maintenance generally requires the use of a ladder it’s very important to follow basic ladder safety guidelines, including:

  • Always be certain that your ladder is stable and on solid, level ground. If the ground below your ladder is uneven, level it with plywood or something similar.
  • Where possible, you may even want to secure the ladder with stakes at the bottom and secure the ladder at the top to prevent it from slipping.
  • Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the gutter, and angle it 1 foot back from the house for every 4 feet in eave height.
  • If your roof is more than one story high, you may want to consider purchasing or renting a roof harness system, as well.

B. Inspect your Roof
Homeowner Roof InspectionTwice a year, it’s a good idea to perform a visual inspection of your roof to identify any signs of damage. Look for warping shingles , discoloration, cracked or missing shingles, visible valleys or depressions in your roof, or flashing related problems around skylights , chimneys , etc. Asphalt shingles, which are most common for residential installations, are covered with a protective granular layer that protects the shingles from heat, cold, and weather. If the granules are missing, the shingle may become brittle, which can lead to cracking and ultimately result in water damage to the underlying roof structure. While it is possible for you to repair or replace damaged Asphalt shingles yourself, we highly urge you to have a professional do this work. A relatively small investment in a professional repair can save you a ton of time attempting to do it yourself, and give you peace of mind that the job was done right!

C. Clean Moss and Mold
Moss and mold grow on roofs and in between shingles, and can cause considerable damage if left unchecked. So it is important to clean mold and moss from your roof. When cleaning your home’s asphalt shingle roof, it is important to avoid using a power washer. Why? The pressure of a power washer’s water stream may lift shingles or remove the protective granular layer of the shingles along with the moss or mold. Instead, use a moss removal solution that is sprayed on the roof. Then gently clean the debris with a broom. This method is effective for Moss and Mold removal, and much gentler for your shingles.

D. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Because cleaning gutters requires the use of a ladder it’s very important to follow basic ladder safety guidelines, including:

  • Gutter CleaningAlways be certain that your ladder is stable and on solid, level ground.
  • Secure the ladder at the top to prevent it from slipping.
  • Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the gutter, and angle it 1 foot back from the house for every 4 feet in eave height.
  • If your gutters are clogged, rainwater can flow over the gutters and cause serious structural damage to your foundation over time. In addition, gutters that are full of debris are heavy and can damage the fascia boards on your roof. To eliminate this problem, remove leaves, twigs and other debris from gutters. Once the debris is removed, use a garden hose to flush any residual material from the gutter with a garden hose.
  • Gutters should be sloped about 1 vertical inch for every 15 to 20 horizontal feet so they drain properly.

If your gutters require repair or adjustments, All American Roofing will be happy to be of service.

E. Fix any Loose Flashing
Flashing is the strip of metal – usually aluminum or galvanized steel – that is most often found in roof valleys, around the chimney and ventilation pipes, and around dormer window joints or around skylights. It’s used to prevent water seeping in and causing damage. Most flashing related damage shows up either in flashing that’s deteriorated due to weather, or in flashing that has come loose. Wind and ice can get under the flashing and may loosen it, allowing rainwater to get in and create mold or cause water damage. To ensure a proper seal and prevent damage, any loose flashing should be professionally repaired and sealed.

F. Clean your Soffits and Fascia
The soffit is the horizontal underside portion of the roof overhang, and the fascia is the vertical part of a roof overhang that gives the eaves a finished edge and prevents water and animals from entering the home’s eaves.

As they are generally made of wood, when not sealed or properly maintained the soffit and fascia may rot out over time. Fascia and soffits should be kept painted and in good repair. When they are not properly maintained they may admit moisture and cause further problems around the eaves. All American Roofing can easily repair or replace your soffit or fascia, or replace wooden fascia and soffits with vinyl or aluminum. These materials can greatly reduce maintenance issues.

In addition to maintaining the paint and condition of your soffits and fascia, the vents in the soffits or fascia can be a tempting destination for small animals during winter months. So be sure to carefully inspect and clean these vents to clear any nests and related animal debris.

G. Safety First… and Last!
Please only attempt roof maintenance tasks if you can do them safely. Here are some additional roof maintenance safety tips:

  • Only work in dry weather conditions.
  • Never try to do roof maintenance projects alone. Adopt the buddy system and always have a second person to hold the ladder or assist in the event you need help.
  • Always use proper footwear. Don’t risk slipping off of your ladder or your roof by wearing old pair of sneakers. Instead, choose a pair of rubber-soled work shoes or boots with good tread.
  • Always take your time when working on a ladder or on a roof. Being patient and taking your time can help prevent a rooftop injury or a fall.

If you have a very high or steep roof, your best bet will always be to call a licensed, professional roofing contractor like All American Roofing. We are always just a phone call away and treat every job, and every customer as we would like to be treated ourselves. It’s that commitment that has earned us the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics and the News Journal’s Readers Choice Award as Delaware’s #1 Roofing Contractor.

Put us to the test and call All American Roofing for your next roof maintenance or repair project. We’ll both be glad that you did.

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